Over the years, Garmin's beefed up its line of Forerunner GPS watches, offering something for everybody with graphs and even a dash o' pink. But the new, slimmed-down Forerunner 610 is the first to feature a touchscreen that you can tap to flip menus instead of feeling around for a host of bantam buttons. For your $350, it'll display distance, time elapsed, and pace all on one screen, though you can add other metrics, such as heart rate. The 610 is also the first in the line with a run / walk alert, which keeps Auto Lap and other features active even when it detects you're walking. As always, you can upload your runs to the web in excruciating detail, but this watch jumps on the social bandwagon with "Virtual Racer," a Nike Running-esque community where you can compare your stats with strangers' (or just try to best your own PRs, if you don't play like that).

After logging some epic runs with the touchscreen Nano, we'd be curious to see how responsive the display is after your fingers become sweaty, though Garmin promises it'll work well through sweat, rain, and touchscreen-friendly gloves. It's available now on Garmin's site, though we suggest you hardcore runners check out DC Rainmaker's review below: it's everything you wanted to know about the 610 but were afraid to ask, including comparison shots with other Forerunners and a glove test.

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Garmin® Adds Its First Touchscreen GPS Watch to Forerunner® Family

OLATHE, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced the Forerunner 610 sports watch – a slim, yet robust and weather-proof touchscreen solution for serious runners seeking an extra advantage. Forerunner 610 can stand up to rain, sweat and splashes, and is responsive enough that it can be operated with running gloves. Forerunner 610 was announced in preparation for world-class marathons in Boston and London as well as the Australian fitness expo where it will be prominently displayed at Garmin booths in each location.

"From giving the basics such as pace, distance and time to monitoring your effort through heart rate, creating interval workouts and racing a friend on the other side of the world, Forerunner 610 becomes a necessary partner for all serious runners."

"Running with Forerunner 610 is like having a coach with you every step of the way," said Dan Bartel, Garmin's vice president of worldwide sales. "From giving the basics such as pace, distance and time to monitoring your effort through heart rate, creating interval workouts and racing a friend on the other side of the world, Forerunner 610 becomes a necessary partner for all serious runners."

Now it is easier than ever to see how far, how fast and how hard you have worked. Forerunner 610 puts it all at your fingertips. Designed for the runner who is constantly seeking improvement, Forerunner 610 is Garmin's new flagship model. Forerunner 610's sleek stylish design complements the highly responsive touch screen and high resolution display. This innovative design has drawn praise from the International design community by winning the coveted Red Dot Design Award, the world's largest and most renowned design competition in a field of thousands of submissions from over 60 countries. To see the Forerunner 610 in action, go to www.garmin.com/touch.
Forerunner 610 uses a vibration motor for alerts such as heart rate, pace and distance when audible tones cannot be heard (heart monitor included in some bundles or available separately). With the heart rate monitor, Forerunner 610 also allows runners to track their training intensity via the new Training Effect feature. With the right information, it is not necessary to be a coach or sports scientist to help you train effectively. Training Effect measures the impact of exercise on aerobic fitness and lets you know how the workout improves your fitness during the workout.

In a true race against the clock, Forerunner 610 introduces Virtual Racer™. With this new feature, Garmin has an answer for every excuse - no more, "I could have beaten that time" - where runners can race themselves over their previous bests or against other users'. These can be taken from runs stored on the watch or downloaded wirelessly from the huge and expanding Garmin Connect™ running community (http://connect.garmin.com). Here users can quickly and easily log their workouts, track their totals, set goals, share workouts with friends and family and participate in an online fitness community of more than 50 million activities around the world. Garmin Connect displays metrics such as time, distance, pace, elevation and heart rate. This information is shown through charts, illustrations, reports and a variety of map representations including street, photo, topographic, and elevation maps.

With the growing popularity of the run/walk training method in the distance running community (example: a runner runs for five minutes, walks for one minute and repeats for the duration of the course), Garmin has included a new run/walk alert. This alert allows Forerunner 610's other features, such as, Auto Lap and Auto Pause, to remain active during a run/walk session.

Forerunner 610 is the latest breakthrough from Garmin, which has spent more than 20 years developing technologies and innovations to enhance users' lives, making Garmin a household name in the automotive, aviation, marine, wireless, outdoor and fitness industries. For more about features, pricing and availability, as well as information about Garmin's other products and services, go to www.garmin.com, www.garmin.blogs.com and http://twitter.com/garmin. To watch step-by-step, feature-specific tutorial videos for Forerunner 610 and other Garmin products, visit the online learning center at www.garmin.com/learningcenter.